The request was made during a three-day campaign (from 19th to 21st May 2022) aimed at bringing available tourism opportunities to public attention.
The event jointly organized by Horwath HTL/Hanga Ahazaza (a project funded by MasterCard Foundation) in collaboration with the districts of Kamonyi, Nyanza and Huye was also characterized by visits to different tourism attractions.
In Kamonyi district, members of the private sector visited Mpushi Rocks located in Mpushi Cell of Musambira Sector in three kilometers away from the main road, Kigali-Huye.
They also visited Mashyiga Rock, a historical site located in Kokobe Village, Bitare Cell of Karama Sector.
During discussions that followed the visits on 19th May 2022, Marie Claire Dushimumukiza, the coordinator of Hanga Ahazaza Horwath HTL, a project implemented in partnership MasterCard Foundation told members of the business community that Rwanda has made great strides in infrastructure development to facilitate investment in tourism.
“The country is making preparations for CHOGM. How are we ready for it ? How do we take advantage of available opportunities so that we can attract investors attending those meetings to visit touristic attractions in our country,” she wondered.
Jackson Hakiza, RDB’s Product Development Analyst said that they are earmarking much effort to diversify tourism products and marketing them to the public because tourism is among sectors with huge contribution to national economy.
He also stressed the need to promote domestic tourism instead of relying heavily on foreigners as one of lessons learnt from COVID-19.
“Over the past two years, COVID-19 has shown us that heavily relying on foreign tourists is not durable because there came a time when travels were suspended that tourists were not allowed to come to Rwanda. That is why we continue to promote domestic tourism,” he said.
Hakiza explained that the country has been rolling out campaigns encouraging Rwandans to visit their country’s attractions including parks, national museums and other natural reserves.
He said that Rwandans have been facilitated through discounts where visiting Virunga National Park costs US$200 while the normal price is US$1500.
Hakiza also revealed that the country is expending much effort in promoting cultural tourism to generate huge returns.
The President of Private Sector Federation in Huye District, Jervin Butera thanked organizers of the event and assured that they are ready to take advantage of opportunities in tourism sector.
“We are ready to seize such opportunities. As members of the private sector, we mostly take heed on providing top notch services to guests because we have hotels and other infrastructures helping them to feel at home,” he noted.
Ange Imanishimwe, an entrepreneur and Executive Director of Biocoor has said that he has already invested in cultural tourism in Huye to seize available opportunities.
His company facilitates people to visit Arberutum forest located in Huye District. The forest which holds great history of colonial rule under Rwanda-Urundi territory is also home to diverse animal species.
Tourists are also given an opportunity to tour other historical sites in Huye District renowned for having sheltered colonizers and the last queen of Rwanda, Rosalie Gicanda.
MasterCard Foundation and HorwathHTL /Hanga Ahazaza also joined Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy and Nyanza District to celebrate the International Museum Day and launch Kwigira Museum which showcases the journey of Rwandans’ self-reliance.
The museum is located at Rwesero Hill in Murambi Village of Rwesero Cell in Busasamana Sector.
The museum’s exhibition is located inside the house built by King Mutara III Rudahigwa. It was built from 1957 to 1959. King Rudahigwa died on 25th July 1959 before the palace’s inauguration.
It was later used as head offices of the Supreme Court, Cassation Court and the National Public Prosecution Authority among others. The two-storey building was declared as a museum on 18th May 2006.
Robert Masozera, the Director-General of the Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy commended the youth for interest in visiting museums where they represent 75% of all visitors and assured support to increase the number.
He stressed that more efforts are needed to sensitize Rwandans of different age groups on visiting museums because 300,000 visitors registered before COVID-19 are still lfew compared to the country’s population of 12 million.
Amb. Masozera also urged businesspeople to invest in cultural tourism noting that it is profitable business.
The Governor of Southern Province, Alice Kayitesi said that they will continue to encourage members of the private sector to invest in tourism.
She highlighted that it must go hand in hand with the development of decent infrastructures facilitating tourists.